By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Friday, February 2, 2007
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[Photo by Jackie Ricciardi]
HAMPTON -- A familiar and friendly face in Town Hall, first as an employee and then as a town clerk, is saying goodbye after serving the town for the last 24 years.
Town Clerk Arleen Andreozzi recently announced the "rumors" of her impending departure are true and that she will not be running for re-election when her term expires in March.
"The best part of working here was the people you meet and the people you work with," Andreozzi said.
And while Andreozzi is retiring as town clerk, she is not retiring from politics. She has already signed up to run for supervisor of the checklist at the upcoming March election.
Andreozzi said she realized it was time to retire after returning to work full time after recent knee replacement surgery.
"I'm at retirement age but was on the fence on whether I should retire or not," Andreozzi said. "I was home for three months, and I had never been away from the office that long. But the office got along fine without me, and I got along fine without it."
While her office is not the most controversial one, it's one that everyone in town visits at least once a year.
Her office handles, among other things, car registrations, birth certificates, dog licensing and all the elections.
Andreozzi said one of the most memorable elections she worked was the last presidential one, where John Kerry challenged George Bush. "We had lawyers over our shoulders watching everything we were doing," Andreozzi said. "But we run a tight ship over there."
Another memorable election took place when the $26 million new building and renovation project for Winnacunnet High School was finally approved by voters in 2004.
"That was the one when we almost ran out of ballots," Andreozzi said. "We order 6,000 ballots for the town election, but I only ordered 5,000 for Winnacunnet. But we didn't run out."
Her office even made national news, not for something she did, but for a selectmen's decision to air, on local television, the names of dog owners who had not registered their pets.
"People did not register their dogs, and we kind of let it slide," Andreozzi said. "Selectmen decided to do something about it and ran the list. There were quite a few people who hadn't registered their dogs and were up in arms. One woman was so upset because her dog had died."
Andreozzi, who previously worked as a nurse in New Jersey, joined the staff of the town's clerk office in 1983.
"I was raising my children, and we had just recently moved into the area," recalled Andreozzi.
She remembered walking into the town clerk's office in the Old Town Hall and running into someone who she knew from when she was a nurse.
"I told her that I was looking for a part-time job as nurse, and she said there was a part-time job here," Andreozzi said. "I basically walked out with the job. That was it. No interview. The only thing then Town Clerk Jane Kelley said to me was, "Can you type?"
Two years later, Andreozzi was promoted to the full-time position of deputy town clerk.
When former Town Clerk Jane Kelley announced her retirement, Andreozzi threw her name into the race and beat five other candidates, including Mary-Louise Woolsey, for the job.
"That was the only time anyone ran against me," Andreozzi said. "I think people thought I was doing a good job. Either that or I had a job that nobody wanted."